Passengers of the Kolhapur-bound Hyderabad-Kolhapur express had a miraculous escape on Saturday morning after the train rammed into an empty goods train. However, the engine of the express train and four wagons of the goods train were derailed.

The accident occurred just minutes after the express train left Bellary railway station.

The engine of the passenger train hit the middle portion of the goods train, which was heading towards Rayadurg of Andhra Pradesh. Half of goods train’s formation (having 58 wagons) had entered the by-pass, while the remaining half was still on the track. As the express was manoeuvring a curve, the driver might not have seen the goods train on the track and his efforts to stop the train might have gone in vain.

As has been the practice, the crew of the goods train, who belong to Hubli division of the South Western Railway, had stopped for handing over the charge of the rake to the crew belonging to Mysore division of the same zone sources in the railways told The Hindu.

According to sources in the Railways, the first starter-signal was given at the railway station with which the express train started moving. But the intermediate starter-signal was not on. Jumping the intermediate starter-signal by the express train was said to be the reason for the accident. Sources informed that the intermediate starter-signal could be given only when the railway gate was closed and the by-pass track was clear.

Those passengers who were regular office goers to Hospet and Koppal got off the train to take a bus to their destination. But passengers heading towards Hubli, Belgaum and Kolhapur were stranded.

Even two hours after the accident the medical relief van did not reach the spot and no step was initiated to clear the track and arrange for the onward journey of the passengers.